FILL YOUR LOUISIANA CUP

By Chad Cooper

 

If you revitalize it, they will come. The once storied Louisiana Downs in Bossier City has begun to return to its glory days thanks to new co-owner and president Kevin Preston, who took over last November. The changes made in a short period of time were made prevalent with full fields during Louisiana Cup Day on Aug. 6 as six stakes races totaling more than $400,000 in purse money saw plenty of exciting action as some new and some familiar faces returned to the winner’s circle to claim a coveted cup.

 

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FIRST STAKES VICTORY FOR TRAINER JOSEPH “BOBBY” FELKS STILL FEELS SPECIAL

Former Assistant to Louisiana Trainer Edward J. Johnston Enjoying Success On His Own

 

Bossier City, LA – There were plenty of wonderful moments on Louisiana Cup Day, the annual stakes card saluting Louisiana Thoroughbreds.

One special highlight was the victory of Cheapskate Diva who took command in the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff. The 4-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom was making her stakes debut for breeder/owner Keith Plaisance. Ridden confidently by Carlos Marquez, the bay filly crossed the wire of the mile and one-sixteenth turf stakes in 1.41.92, defeating a deep field of accomplished turf mares.

It was the first stakes win for the filly and her trainer Joseph “Bobby” Felks, and while he was reticent about taking credit for her victory, Marquez and Plaisance gave him his due.

“I give all the credit to Bobby,” said Marquez. “She used to be more hyper, but Bobby has worked with her, and she did it easy for me today.”

Plaisance also praised Felks in the post-race interview.

“It was his idea to enter her in this,” said Plaisance. “Bobby felt she deserved a shot and to win over tough mares like Net a Bear and Fort Polk was amazing. My hat’s off to Bobby!”

“Bobby is my middle name,” explained Felks. “I never really liked  being called Joseph; everyone calls me Bobby.”

Felks was born in Chicago and is the only member of his family who desired a career in the racing industry. He had a summer job hotwalking horses at Arlington Park and made his way to Louisiana when he served as an assistant for the late Edward J. Johnston. The respected horseman succumbed to cancer on August 28, 2021 at the age of 74. Eddie’s career spanned 30 years with stakes winners including Pacific Pink, Zarb’s Luck, Grand Basin and Is Too earning over $12 million.

Felks has eight horses in training and admits that he had his challenges with Cheapskate Diva. She made six starts at Fair Grounds with little impact.

“She was difficult in the beginning,” he explained. “I didn’t know what to do to get her focused. The lightbulb finally turned on at Evangeline Downs, where she began to relax and showed more and more in each work. Winning the maiden $20,000 (on May 14) was a confidence builder, for sure.”

Marquez rode for Johnston and Felks named him on the filly and several other runners.

“It has worked out very well with Carlos,” said Felks. “He has won eight of nine races for me this summer.”

Felks reports that Cheapskate Diva, who reeled off four consecutive wins since May, will have some time off and likely make her next start at Fair Grounds. Her performance on Louisiana Cup Day was very special for the 53-year-old horseman and he remains grateful to Plaisance for his support.

“Training for Keith has been amazing,” stated Felks. “There is no pressure in developing his horses. I couldn’t ask for a better owner!”

Matt Crawford, in his first month as Louisiana Downs racing secretary, also applauds the hard work of Felks.

“Bobby is a very dedicated horseman,” stated Crawford. “Whether you have eight or 80, training racehorses is a very demanding job. It’s great to see Bobby win his first stakes race and we are happy that it took place on Louisiana Cup Day!”

Trainer and  Jockey Standings Through August 16

Last year’s leading conditioner Shane Wilson remains the leader in the  trainer standings with  39 wins since the meet began on May 7. Joey Foster follows in second place with 27 winners and Greg Tracy is now third with 25 wins. Karl Broberg rounds out the top four with 23 victories.

 

Carlos Lozada, who was honored as leading jockey here in 2021 continues to have an excellent meet and leads his fellow riders with 70 trips to the winner’s circle. Jose Guerrero is second with 61 wins followed by Joel Dominguez, Alexander Castillo and Vicente Del Cid who each have 32 winners each.

Annual Charity Golf Tournament Moved to Thursday, September 15

Louisiana Downs will host its annual Charity Golf Tournament at Northwood Hills Golf Club in Shreveport, Louisiana on Thursday September 15. The event will benefit The Winner’s Circle Church and Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk for his many programs to assist the Louisiana Downs racing community and backstretch workers.

Sign in for the event’s Four Person Scramble kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with tee off at 10:30 a.m.  The fee is $80 per person or $320 for a four-person team.  The fee includes green fees, golf cart, lunch, and t-shirt/cap. Trophies will be presented to the first, second and third-place teams.

The deadline to enter is Wednesday, August 24. Attendees can register in person in the Louisiana Downs Racing office, or by mail. Checks should be payable to The Backside Benevolence Fund and mailed to:  Jennifer Sokol, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, 8000 East Texas Street, Bossier City, Louisiana, 71111.  For further information, please contact Jennifer Sokol at (318) 741-2512 or (318) 573-5830.

Wiener Dog Races Set for Monday, September 5

Louisiana Downs will celebrate Labor Day with live racing, family-friendly activities on the track apron and Wiener Dog competition in between Thoroughbred races. Registration is open for purebred Dachshunds with 32 entrants to be selected. For more information, visit ladowns.com.

Louisiana Downs Racing Dates and Post Time

The 2022 Thoroughbred meet at Louisiana Downs got underway on Saturday, May 7. The 84-day live racing season runs Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 3:05 pm (Central) through September 27.

About Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and is now owned by Rubico Acquisition Corporation. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

THRILLING FINISHES FOR EACH OF THE LOUISIANA CUP DAY STAKES AT LOUISIANA DOWNS

Trainer Chasey Deville Pomier Wins Two of the Six Features

 

Bossier City, LA – It was another outstanding edition of  Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 6  at Louisiana Downs. The quality of the Louisiana Thoroughbred breeding industry shone brightly in each of the six stakes on the program.

Despite temperatures in the high 90’s, tremendous performances were noted throughout the afternoon with glory to several experienced runners as well as the younger horses testing stakes level competition!  Here is a recap of the six Louisiana Cup stakes.

 

Bisping Triumphs in the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile

Stakes action got underway in the second race with the running of the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile for Louisiana-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. A field of eight competed at five and one-half furlongs on the main track.

The winner was Anna Guillot’s Bisping, a son of El Deal, bred by Adcock’s Red River Farm LLC & J. Adcock.  He reunited with jockey Devin Magnon this afternoon, who guided him from his inside post, taking command at the 3/8thpole and drawing clear. He prevailed by a margin of 3 ¾ lengths over Ranch Water in a final time of 1.05.90.

“Before he ever ran, I knew he was special,” said Magnon. “We have a bond, and he does everything you ask of him very professionally.”

Trained by Ricky Courville, the dark bay gelding broke his maiden on May 19 at Evangeline Downs prior to running sixth in the $150,000 Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park.

“I had a race in him and took a shot,” said Courville. “We faced big horses in New York.”

World War IV Racing’s Ranch Water ran second for trainer Allen Landry followed by Norman Racing Stables LLC’s Easy Chance. Post time favorite King’s Lute completed the superfecta for owner Claiming Cajuns LLC.

Sent off as the second choice in the wagering, Bisping paid $9.60 for the win, which was his second in three starts. With today’s winner’s share of $40,200, his earnings stand at $58,050. Courville said that Bisping will be pointed to the D.S. “Shine” Young Futurity at Evangeline Downs.

 

Cheapskate Diva Thrills Her Connections in the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff

The first turf stakes of the card, the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, drew nine fillies and mares who traveled a mile and one-sixteenth over the firm Franks Turf Course.

Cheapskate Diva was in fine form as she made her stakes debut for breeder/owner Keith Plaisance The 4-year-old filly by Animal Kingdom last ran here on July 3, drawing off in a $25,000 turf allowance by 10 lengths under Carlos Marquez. Confidently handled today, she was forwardly placed through early fractions of :23.77 and 48.39 before taking the lead at the top of the stretch and drawing clear by 1 ½ lengths. The final time, over the firm turf course was 1.41.92.

This was the first stakes win for the filly and her trainer Joseph “Bobby” Felks.

“I give all the credit to Bobby,” said Marquez. “She used to be more hyper, but Bobby has worked with her, and she did it easy for me today.”

Plaisance also praised Felks in the post-race interview.

“It was his idea to enter her in this,” said Plaisance. “Bobby felt she deserved a shot and to win over tough mares like Net a Bear and Fort Polk was amazing. My hat’s off to Bobby!”

Fort Polk, a 6-year-old daughter of Behindatthebar, trained by Pat Mouton for owners Steve and Pat Roe completed the exacta. She won her last two turf races at Louisiana Downs, with a total of nine victories in 35 starts. Juan Vargas had the call. Alliaceous closed for third under rider Vicente Del-Cid and longshot Eve’s Delight rounded out the top four.

Defending champion Net a Bear finished seventh and trainer Allen Landry felt the heat might have taken its toll on his multiple-stakes winner.

“She was sweating when we hauled in this morning,” said Landry. “We will give her some time off and see how she does.”

Cheapskate Diva has now won four of her ten efforts with earnings of $101,740. Her connections were undecided on her next start.

 

Free Like a Girl Sensational in the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint

The $67,000 Louisiana Filly and Mare Sprint showcased a field of 11 exceptional Louisiana-bred fillies and mares going six furlongs on the fast main track.

Free Like a Girl returned to Louisiana Downs on Cup Day as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in  the six-furlong sprint.Bred by retired jockey Kim Renee Stover and her sister, Lisa Osborne, the daughter of Flashy Prize, sired by El Deal, had won seven of her 14 starts for owners Gerald Bruno, Jr; Carl J, Deville; Chasey Deville Pomier and Jerry Caroom. She was honored as 2021 Louisiana Thoroughbred  Breeders Association (LTBA) Champion 2-year-old filly and continues to progress through her 3-year-old campaign.

She was back in state bred company today following starts in the Grade 3, $300,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park February 26 against the much heralded Secret Oath and her most recent race, a  credible third in the $225,000 Iowa Oaks (G3) on July 9 at Prairie Meadows.

Quite simply, today she was exceptional! Jockey Pedro Cotto, Jr. was content to let her break from her far inside post, track the front-running Drop Dead Sexy, and confidently circle the field. She drew clear at the eighth pole and crossed the wire by a margin of 6 ½ lengths in 1.10.69.

“She likes being on the outside and having something to run at,” explained Pomier. “We were facing older horses and were not sure how it would pan out, but she’s shown time and time again how much she loves her job!”

The connections remain loyal to Cotto, who has piloted Free Like a Girl in each of her Louisiana races.

“He rode for my dad when I was a kid and worked this filly as a baby,” Pomier added. “Pedro fits her and tells us that all he ever wants is to ride our filly!”

Drop Dead Sexy held on for second for current leading trainer Shane Wilson and
2021 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint champion, Snowball completed the trifecta, followed by Spirited Beauty and Canada’s Customs.

Free Like a Girl ($4.20) has now won eight of her fifteen career starts, boosting her earnings to $464,073.

 

City Park Springs the Upset in the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic

The $67,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Classic attracted eleven runners going a mile and one-sixteenth over the Franks Turf Course.

City Park, a 5-year-old son of Temple City, bred by Warren Harang, returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in 2022, under very confident handling by rider Joel Dominguez. Breaking from the rail, he was eighth after the half-mile, before advancing four-wide and drawing clear in 1:40.79 over the firm turf course.

Owned by MAT Investments, LLC, City Park exited a seventh-place finish in the John Henry at Evangeline Downs last month.

“You can always make it happen when you are on the right horse and I had the right horse today,” said Dominguez. “The race set up well. I knew if they went fast up front, he would come running and that’s what happened.”

Charlie G rallied for second under rider Joe Stokes, followed by Big Chopper and Jaci’s Royalty. Defending champion Carlea’s Dream, sent off as the favorite, ran fifth under Iram Diego.

City Park was bet down from his 12-1 morning line and rewarded his backers with a $12.80 win payout. Trained by Eduardo Ramirez, this was the first stakes victory for the bay gelding who has won six of his career efforts, increasing his earning to $210,484 this afternoon.

 

Janet is Ready Lived up to her Name in the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies

Nine accredited 2-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies competed in one of the best fields ever for the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies.  Several first-time winners faced off in the five and one-half main track sprint.

Saddling her second winner on the Cup Day card was Chasey Deville Pomier as Janet is Ready notched the win in gate-to-wire fashion under rider Vicente Del-Cid. This was the third victory for the daughter of Custom for Carlos, who made her debut on May 13 in a $98,000 maiden special weight at Churchill Downs. After running second in Kentucky, she broke her maiden at Evangeline Downs and won the $100,000 Prairie Gold Lassie on July 8 in Iowa, at odds of 21-1.

She drifted out as she approached the wire today, but still prevailed by one-length in 1:05.65, over Guitar Woman, Lady Flurry, the heavy post time favorite and Nodah.

Owner Gerry Bruno was on hand for the race and talked about the team behind the filly, who was bred by Bentley T. Early.

“We bought her at the LTBA Yearling Sale ($5,500),” said Bruno. “She was impressive today, despite drifting at the end! No one knows that I was Carl Deville’s assistant at Monmouth Park when Chasey was seven, so we’ve been around for a long time ”

Flurry Racing Stable LLC’s homebred Lady Flurry turned heads at Louisiana Downs with a riveting nine-length maiden score on June 20. Owner Staton Flurry, who won the 201- Super Derby (on turf) with Mr Misunderstood, bred the daughter of Lord Nelson out of the Storm and a Half mare Patchofbadweather.

Janet Is Ready ($13.20)  has now won $121,100 and may be pointed to the D.S. “Shine” Young Futurity Filly Division at Evangeline Downs.

 

Front-Running Score by Takes Two to Tango in the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint

The $67,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Sprint closed out the Louisiana Cup Day card with eleven talented Louisiana-breds traveling six furlongs on the main track.

Takes Two to Tango, a 6-year-old son of Half Ours, added his sixth career victory for breeder/owner Melissa Cantacuzene. Jockey Luis Quinonez guided the bay gelding to the wire in 1:10.89 in front-running fashion over the fast track. He spoke about his improvement following his third-place finish in the Louisiana Legends Sprint at Evangeline Downs.

“He broke very well today,” said Quinonez.  “Was very alert and when I called on him, he finished well. I thank the owner for this opportunity.”

Trained by J. Luis Garcia, Takes Two to Tango, has won five of his seven outs at Louisiana Downs.

“He never holds back,” said Cantacuzene. “He always gives 100%.”

Black Sword ran second under Vicente Del-Cid, followed by Brian’s Iron Mike and Creole Charlie.

Takes Two to Tango broke his maiden at first asking here on May 6, 2019 and has increased his career bankroll to $164,190 in 16 starts.

Equibase Chart:  https://www.equibase.com/static/chart/pdf/LAD080622USA.pdf

Photos courtesy Hodges Photography

Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred Meet Continues Through September 27

Live racing at Louisiana Downs continues Sunday, August 7 with Thoroughbred action each Saturday, Sunday, Mondayand Tuesday through September 27. For further information on upcoming events, visit ladowns.com.

 

About Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and is now owned by Rubico Acquisition Corporation. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.